Schools on leave: Conference Season starts

July 2016 - While most teachers and students in schools in the Netherlands start with their well-deserved summer holidays, the test experts and international consultants at Cito keep on working. July and August traditionally are ‘Conference months’, in which internationally renowned experts in  assessment and educational measurement will meet. Cito experts will participate in two upcoming conferences in Africa, with active input and time for networking.

AEAA in Zimbabwe

From July 25th up and to 29th Cito attends the 34th Conference of the Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA).
This conference is hosted by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council. Theme of this Conference is “Promoting holistic development through innovative assessment initiatives". Most African countries, mainly from Sub-Sahara part of this huge continent, send delegations; quite huge delegations in some cases.

Cito will be present with a delegation of the Cito International core team: Frans Kleintjes, Caroline Jongkamp en Nico Dieteren. We will provide some active contributions to the workshop sessions. We are happy to meet our African contacts and hope to make new contacts in the world of assessment and education.

Program and presentations

Cito experts have prepared three substantive contributions on very actual and important topics.
We are pleased to announce that in two cases we will do this together with experts from African partners.
  • Frans Kleintjes will provide a presentation on Test quality assurance together with experts and staff members of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) of Nigeria.
  • Nico Dieteren will cooperate with Lucy Mkhonta of the Swaziland Examinations Council (ECOS) in presenting some examples of best practice of assessing higher order thinking skills in national examinations.
  • Most African countries are nowadays facing the challenge of transferring their national and large-scale assessments from paper based to computer based. On this topic, Caroline Jongkamp and Frans Kleintjes will inform the participants about experiences from high stakes examinations in the Netherlands.

The topic is meeting quite urgent issues for most African assessment boards and policy makers. Related to this presentation we are prepared for a broad interest for our Questify software modules for building integrated systems of computer based assessment

Two worlds?

For Cito experts it will be a great opportunity to visit Zimbabwe. In this case we are not different from most people that travel to other countries and have been looking for some information about the country and the people.

Personally I must admit that I am quite shocked by reading the news and seeing the pictures of the millions of poor people living in the middle and the south of Zimbabwe, facing the worst drought ever in the history of this relative young nation.

President Mugabe declared it to be ‘a state of disaster’ and 2.44 million people are actually ‘food insecure’. In the meanwhile we are visiting a conference resort in Victoria Falls, in the very North of the country, and probably will have no problems what so ever with essential facilities as food and housing.

This feels strange for me: like two different worlds in one country. Reassuring it is however to realize that we will be working on the future of good education, including fair and reliable assessments.

We at Cito strongly believe that we can help all people to identify and further develop their potential, all over the world. Let us hope that by organizing this international experts meeting the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council can contribute in developing the standards of living of the people and for opening up the stagnant and quite isolated economy of Zimbabwe.

Nico Dieteren, senior international consultant Cito